Overall, The Phantom Menace 3D conversion left a bad taste in my mouth, but since a limited showing of Attack of the Clones 3D showed a marked improvement, I actually started to get excited about a Revenge of the Sith 3D conversion. After seeing it Friday evening at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, I can confidently say it was extremely solid, with a few stand out moments, but it still had the minor setback all conversions have.
Before the film aired, both Dennis Muren and Ian McDiarmid took the stage to introduce and hype up, even though they didn’t need to, the premiere screening of RotS 3D. McDiarmid spoke shortly about George Lucas approaching him about doing the prequels and how unaware he was that he’d have to polish his lightsaber skills by the final film. Dennis Muren, who got the 3D conversion rolling with help from Prime Focus, mentioned how the depth they added helped the opening space battle, made Natalie Portman more attractive (which McDiarmid joked, “Can you make me sexier?”), the lightning effects, and eye close ups. And just for good measure, they re-aired The Force Awakens trailer, which got just as much applause and cheers as the first time I saw it Thursday morning.
The overall conversion made it easy to really tell the layers of depth the 3D process gives a film, but a slight blurriness and definite conversion vs originally-shot-in-3D feel permeated RotS, but didn’t mire the entire experience. Instead of the space battle beginning or the crash landing on Coruscant being the most impressive showcases of the more nuanced conversion, it was a lot of the smaller things: the smoking ruins of the Super Battle Droids R2 defeats; the lightsabers of Mace and Yoda being held out towards the screen; the eye close up shots, especially General Grievous’; and there was also a lot of smoke added so that an object at any depth on the screen might be able to disturb it, which helped sell the 3D feel of the film. Best examples of the added smoke were: Vader takes his first breath under the mask and when he’s being lifted upright on the surgical table.
Out of the entire film, the second best 3D effect came from Vader’s faceplate being lowered down onto his face, as it made it feel like it was being lowered on your actual face. And what I felt was the top 3D moment for Revenge of the Sith was actually the Force Lightning from Emperor Palpatine because holy cow, it really added a jolt to his electrical storm, fizzling and flashing brightly and right up in your face. I could’ve just watched the parts where he unleashes his unlimited power and that’s all I would’ve needed to see to sell me on the 3D conversion; In fact, it still feels like I can see it burned into my retinas, much like a bunch of camera flashes are known to do.
Seeing as this was a screening with tons of fans, there of course was a whole lot of hooting, hollering, and clapping throughout, even if some of it was at inappropriate times, like when Anakin ignites his lightsaber in front of younglings. In the end, I enjoyed the conversion enough that if they were to release this conversion through home video format or another screening opportunity pops up, I’d highly advise going if you want some in your face lightning buffet, topped off with lightsabers pointed right up at your eyeballs. Delicious, no?
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